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“How far can one live alone?” he asked. “Have you tried ever?”

“Once for three weeks,” she replied. “My father and mother were in Italy, and something happened so that I couldn’t join them. For three weeks I lived entirely by myself, and the only person I spoke to was a stranger in a shop where I lunched—a man with a beard. Then I went back to my room by myself and—well, I did what I liked. It doesn’t make me out an amiable character, I’m afraid,” she added, “but I can’t endure living with other people. An occasional man with a beard is interesting; he’s detached; he lets me go my way, and we know we shall never meet again. Therefore, we are perfectly sincere.”

From Virginia Woolf, Night and Day

Insofar as it is possible to divide people into categories, the surest criterion is the deep-seated desires that orient them to one or another lifelong activity. Every Frenchman is different. But all actors the world over are similar — in Paris, Prague, or the back of beyond. An actor is someone who in early childhood consents to exhibit himself for the rest of his life to an anonymous public. Without that basic consent, which has nothing to do with talent, which goes deeper than talent, no one can become an actor.

From Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

 

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